Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Hurricanes Outlast Hitmen 6-5 in Overtime

LETHBRIDGE - Cam Braes scored three times, including the game-tying goal with the goalie pulled late in the 3rd period as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Calgary Hitmen 6-5 in overtime Wednesday night at the ENMAX Centre.

A quick start to this game for the Hurricanes on home ice. Lethbridge was given a 5-on-3 power play early in the period and scored twice to take a 2-0 lead. First Cam Braes scored his 17th of the season, ripping a shot over the shoulder of Chris Driedger to give the Canes a 1-0 lead. Just over a minute later, the Hurricanes would make it 2-0 with another power play goal. This time Nick Buonassisi would get the goal, his 11th of the year. Just like that, the Hurricanes were up by a pair. Calgary got one of those back when Brady Brassart beat Damien Ketlo to cut the Canes lead to 2-1, but Lethbridge would soon after regain their two-goal cushion when Jaimen Yakubowski notched his 7th of the season, right off the face-off. That would make it 3-1 Lethbridge. Late in the period though, with just 24 second to go Calgary would get a power play goal courtesy of Jimmy Bubnick. That would cut the Hurricanes lead to 3-2 after one. The shots favoured the Hitmen 19-13.

In the second, the Hurricanes would get back their two goal lead early. A bad giveaway by Calgary in it's own zone would end up in the back of the net when Graham Hood scored his 5th of the year to give Lethbridge a 4-2 lead. The Hitmen would have several chances to score as the period moved on, but Damien Ketlo was great in goal and kept Calgary off the scoreboard. Lethbridge took that two-goal lead into the second intermission. Calgary held the edge in shots at 35-21.

In what turned out to be a wild third, the Hitmen would make it a one goal game very quickly on the power play, as Brady Brassart scored just 16 seconds into the period to make it 4-3 Lethbridge with lots of hockey yet to be played. The Hitmen would keep pressing and a few minutes later got the equalizer. Kenton Helgesen wired a low point shot by a screened Ketlo to even the game at 4-4. Then with about 3:30 left, Calgary would take the lead for the first time when Cody Sylvester snapped a shot by Ketlo, putting the Hurricanes behind in the game with a couple of minutes to go. Lethbridge pulled the goalie in the final minute and Cam Braes would score with just 25 seconds to go in the period to tie things up at 5-5. That was Braes' 3rd goal of the night and 19th of the season. That would send the game into overtime. Just 21 seconds into the extra period, Graham Hood would jam the puck by Driedger to lead Lethbridge to a thrilling 6-5 win. That was Hood's 2nd goal of the game and 6th of the season and a big one at that. Calgary out shot Lethbridge 47-28 in this one as Damien Ketlo was very busy between the pipes. Lethbridge went 2 for 4 on the power play and Calgary finished the night 2 for 2.

The victory is the Hurricanes 9th in their last 13 games and 4th straight on home ice. Lethbridge has also won 6 of it's last 7 games at the ENMAX Centre. The win improves their record to 12-22-0-1 on the season. It wasn't a pretty win, but the Hurricanes will take it. Cam Braes said on the CJOC post-game show that it wasn't a very good defensive effort in this game, but they'll take the two points and try and learn from some of the mistakes. Braes is red hot right now. He's on a 10 game point scoring streak with 11 goals and 5 assists during that period.

The Hurricanes saw the return of Phil Tot to the line-up Wednesday. He's missed the past few weeks with injury. For the most part, the Hurricanes have pretty much a healthy line-up heading into the final two games before the WHL's annual Christmas break. Just two players remained sideline. Craig Leverton still has an upper body injury and it out and Tyler Kizuik suffered a mild concussion in Victoria last weekend and won't play until after the break.


The Hurricanes are back home Friday night to host the Victoria Royals. The Canes will be looking to make amends for an 8-5 loss to the Royals on Vancouver Island a week ago, a game in which saw the saw number of lead slip away. This will be first and only visit to Lethbridge this season by the former Chilliwack Bruins franchise. Game time is 7:00 pm (MST). The Hurricanes will host Swift Current Saturday for their annual Teddy Bear Toss game. After that, the Hurricanes won't play again until December 27th in Cranbrook against the Kootenay ICE.



  1. What can you say....boys dug deep and found a way to win and didnt quit. A long distance road trip I think took the wind out of the young kids and it was the veterans who stepped up last night Braes, Ketlo, Hood, Johnston...I think there will be a better effort this weekend. TD

  2. Great come back....the boys never quit and that is what I like most about this team...never say die attitude.....Hurricane hockey...GO CANES GO!!!

  3. Wow. What can you say the boys found a way to win another game that they were badly outplayed in for 50 minutes of the game. Loved Chismore's comments after the game about the defense and the work they have been putting in. After last night either the boys aren't listening or the coaches have the strangest ideas on how to play defense. I am hoping Sutter is trade or cut. He has turned into the biggest floater on the team. Just Curious to know how many think the coach and or coaches are doing a good job. Must say I am happy we won another one. Hopeful we see a better effort on the weekend.

  4. Thought the boys played pretty well for about 18:21. Won a game they did not deserve to win, but earlier in the year they lost some that they deserved to win so it all evens out. Did like the fact that they did not quit and Ketlo was great especially in the second period.

    For Anon 9:31 am I do not think Sutter is a floater he took a shot off his right ankle in the second now hurting both ankles. Yes his skating was laboured after that but he did manage to contribute three assists and one on the overtime goal. He is producing at a rate of .838 points per game. This is probably less than he expects of himself but not bad for a kid who has played most of the year injured and now on two sore ankles. The kid shows guts and determination and I am glad we still have him.

  5. Agree about Sutter he has played hurt a lot this year and foot injuries are really tough to deal with. He has played well considering the injuries. TD

  6. I think we got out coached again. Calgary just took what we gave them which was open point men in our end. Their D just played catch with each other until a lane opened up and then they fired. I think this is why we gave up so many shots. I thought a simple adjustment would have been to tighten up the coverage on their D-men. I am glad we won but we need to find a way to get/retain possession of the puck more.

  7. On the opposite end of the spectrum from Bunz in Medicine Hat who gets far more credit than HE deserves for being an average tender with lousy big-game tendencies, Cam Braes has to be one of the most under-rated players in this league.

    What an outcome changing performance this was by Cam!

    Two years ago, I thought that Cam and Austin were going to return to the Canes after a tough losing season (Preston's first of three) to score 50 apiece together. A lot of team injuries and team difficulties forced a different (more defensive) role for CB14, so Cam has remained a relatively unknown player with a ton of untapped scoring skill!!

    I have never heard that he has wanted out of Lethbridge, but if he would like to be traded to a BC (or any) contender in this, his final season, I think the organization definitely owes it to him to try to extend his final season for him.

    ... and what team wouldn't improve their chances to be WHL and Mem-Cup Champions by adding Braes to their roster?? Cam to the Oil Kings, and I think the Kings have a great shot. Add Ketlo to the deal to tag-team with Brossoit, and then you may as well just hand the E.C. Cup to the Kings.

    If he hasn't signed a pro deal yet, I sure hope CB14 gets his chance this spring. If Sutter can be the incomplete player that he is, yet find a way to get drafted and signed, then Braes deserves two handfuls of offers! - Richie

  8. @ 9:31 am

    I am one of the few that thinks the coaches are doing a good job. Coach Chiz recognized our goalie depth and talent to keep Ketlo as opposed to Anderson. Anderson has a better save % with us than with Brandon a much more talented team (coaching). We just experienced one of the longest losing streaks of Hurricanes hockey. It would have been easy for this team to give up on the season but didn't. It is a sign of a good coaching staff that doesn't lose the team. Our coaching staff recognized our strengths and weaknesses and has given our team the identity of a young, fast, hard hitting, hard working, blue collar bunch (which has given us a positive winning % in the last 10 plus games). Our team is playing to that identity and not giving up in games that we are clearly being out played (coaching). The hurricanes have a five-year plan to build through the draft. Those drafted players need to show improvement and I believe that they have (coaching). The true test will be next year. IMO the current staff will need to make it to round 2 of the playoffs next year to continue on this team. We should be primed for a run in the 2014 and 2015 seasons with the upcoming young talent (and need the right staff to take us there). Just my opinion? I am struggling on if we should trade the likes of Sutter, Cam, Johnston ect. as it may hinder the development of our youth? Do we have enough coming up to keep those vets or do we only trade one or at most two vets? Not sure but we need to get it correct. We also need stability for the young talent, not constant coaching changes to appease the disgruntled fans.

  9. Further to my last post, I believe the coaching staff truly cares for these kids. In the post game shows with coach C. he always shows us his emotions of being ‘proud of his team, speechless etc. I also like that the staff believe in a process in which they recognize that the youth needs to gain experience and confidence.

  10. I will predict that being the professional that he is, that Preston will take Braes aside and ask him if he wants to be traded to a strong contender or finish his 5 years as a Hurricane. Braes will set the club record for the most games played this season. If given the option.....Braes will follow the example set by Carter Bancks and stay.
    Don't trade Johnston, Hood or Bonassisi...they need to be our overages next season.

  11. Some interesting comments about coaching and trades from Anon (554pm). My view is there is really good character and quality kids on the Canes who despite the coaching staff and organization are determined to improve. They have had to basically figure it out by themselves and I see no evidence as to improved systems etc that coaching should be providing. With respect to trading veteran players like Braes and Johnston in addition to being able to get some quality players in return it would be great for Canes to provide them an opportunity to go to a playoff team where maybe they will have the opportunity to get noticed by pro scouts as neither player is affiliated with a pro team.

  12. This staff has been able to recognize the character players that don't need coaching and has put them on our team. Another positive. This is the Whl, every team is being scouted and every player has an opportunity to get signed if they are good enough. I agree with 11:53 on the three players to keep next year. Do you predict we trade anyone prior to the deadline?

  13. This staff has been able to recognize the character players that don't need coaching and has put them on our team. Another positive. This is the Whl, every team is being scouted and every player has an opportunity to get signed if they are good enough. I agree with 11:53 on the three players to keep next year. Do you predict we trade anyone prior to the deadline?

  14. Re Anon 1024 -If you are first or second round pro prospect then no matter what team you are on you will get noticed. If you a lower round prospect playing on a good team, making playoffs and management credibility promoting players all factor into the equation. I would put Braes and Johnston up against a number of the drafted and players who went to pro camps on teams like Portland, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Kootenay. That is the reality of the business.

  15. I am sure a lot factors into it. I agree Johnston is a head scratcher. But correct me if I am wrong - Braes has had a pro invite to Wings or sharks? Fyten to Philly. Jackson to Calgary. Anderson to Washington. Sutter drafted in the 7th. All on our poor seasons.

  16. To those that don't think Rich Preston is a good coach and doesn't understand hockey (or, in their words "systems"). How the hell did he stay on as an assistant coach for the Flames for so many years (one of them being their 2004 Cup run) if he doesn't understand the game?

    These comments confuse me......

    As for trading Cam Braes, I agree with the person who said that I'm sure he will be approached by Preston and they will ask him, not tell him (similiar to Carter Bancks last year).

    I certainly don't agree that Brody Sutter is a floater. No way, no how!

    I would say a more important question prior to the trade deadline is if the team should entertain offers for Ketlo. He's been a saviour the past month and has been one of the main reasons for the team's resurgence. Should Preston trade Ketlo for a highly-touted 17 or 18 year old or even a 2nd or 1st Round Bantam pick? (I wouldn't take anything less than this).

    I also think Sutter could fetch a nice return. I'd like to keep Braes if he's willing to stay, but as another writer said, if he wishes to play for a contender or wants to play closer to home, I hope the team tries to accommodate him. If not, he will be a great role model for the young players to finish the year with. He's such a great character guy and will miss him next year (as I've missed Bancks). Love the fire and passion!

  17. Darren, Rich Preston has been Darryl Sutter's close friend from playing days in Chicago, through coaching with him in Chicago to coaching with him in San Jose then coaching with him in Calgary. Rich knows a lot about hockey obviously but needs some teachers around him and he has put those in place since he has been in Lethbridge.

  18. I don't think Braes got a pro invite this year Anon which is a head scratcher too.

  19. Calling all Cane armchair coaches!

    Braes, Buono, & Ramsay had a rough night in Victoria; particularly against Sundher & Crooks (all -3 for the night, vs +3 and +2).

    Being that we will have last change, will coach Preston match these same lines for a rematch, or WHO should he match with these Royal Demons for a better result tonight? - Richie.